Transhumanism Who Wants to Live Forever?

Today I'm talking about something very interesting and disturbing, Transhumanism. I steal the title from him Who wants to live forever (Who wants to live forever) to Brian May, guitarist of Queen, who wrote this beautiful song at a difficult time when he lost his father and was divorcing his wife. In fact, it was May himself who sang the verses before passing the baton to the great Freddie Mercury.

Brian May

And I want to address the Transhumanism From the biotechnology side, but especially from the point of view of ethics, From the point of view of philosophy. Since I'm not an expert on the subject, I have reviewed texts and essays by various experts until I found the right idea. Dr. António Diéguez, Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Malaga.

I have transcribed a lecture of his entitled Transhumanism: reality, Fiction & Challenges and whose video I include at the end of the post. The first part deals with the technological part, and the second is the ethical aspect of life extension techniques.

At the end, The last point is mine, where I address the perspective of transhumanism and personal branding, in the truest sense of legacy.

Here's a one-minute video trailer:

You can listen to it here in the episode 121 From the podcast Everything Leaves a Mark, In iVoox, Apple Podcast, Spotify Or Google Podcast.

Here I leave you with Dr. Antonio Diéguez: 

The End of Man? 

I'm going to talk about a topic that's having a lot of media coverage. In this same series of conferences there have already been other speakers who have dealt with it, and indeed the whole cycle, The impression I have, It deals with the same question.

The title of The End of Man?, Under Interrogation, It is an issue that has been raised precisely in connection with these proposals, which are generally referred to as Transhumanism. The Transhumanism, However, It's a very complex issue, Very varied, It has very different versions and I necessarily have to concentrate on one of them.

I'm not going to get into an argument, Although in the debate, If it arises, We can talk about it, The aspects of the Transhumanism that claim the union of human beings and machines, The creation of the Cibor, or in its most extreme versions, The Quest to Dump the Mind into a Machine, of the human mind in a machine.

I'm going to focus on the aspects of the Transhumanism that have to do with the biotechnology. And even within this topic, which is also spacious, I am going to concentrate on one aspect of this aspect, which would be the application of biotechnology for the extension of human life. Or, to put it more bluntly, the promises of immortality through biotechnology.

Dr. Antonio Diéguez

Dr. Antonio Diéguez

Biotechnology for the extension of human life

As we're going to see, We are already being promised a life of indefinite duration thanks to technological developments. I think it is appropriate to ask to what extent there is a scientific basis for these promises, and to what extent these promises are based on that scientific basis or go far beyond what this basis allows us to establish.

Aging is, Present day, A fundamental topic of scientific research. It's one of the themes, In addition, in which Spain has pioneering scientists.

Carlos López-Otín, of the University of Oviedo, Juan Carlos Izpisúa, of the Catholic University of Murcia (although it works primarily in the U.S. U.S.), Or María Blasco, Director of the C.N.I.O.. 

They are the names of great Spanish scientists, of great international prestige, who are working precisely on this issue, About What Is Aging, How Aging Occurs, and to what extent we can mitigate the defects of aging.

There is no single cause

We don't have a single explanation at the moment, unanimously accepted, of the causes of aging.

We may never have such an explanation because, From what is known, Ageing is the product of many different factors.

But as complex as these factors may be, What is clear is that they can be studied scientifically, And this fact, of the possibility of rigorous study, It also opens the door to a possible future technological control of these factors. To the extent that we can apply technologies to control these factors that cause aging, We will be able to extend life in a significant way.

Aging Is Not a Biological Necessity

In fact, Aging is not an inexorable biological necessity. I mean, The way in which ageing occurs in living beings is very varied and in very different ways. We have, For example, In plants such as Posidonia oceanica, What is a marine plant, or Colorado pine, or here, in Spain, For example, A few olive trees, What They can live for around a thousand years and maybe even more. So your Longevity is unconscionable compared to that of any animal.

However, Also in the animal world we find surprising cases. The case of hydras or jellyfish. The hydra is about two millimeters long and lives in fresh water, This animal, in principle, You are constantly regenerating your cells, I mean, That literally Never gets old. If only it always had the right conditions of humidity and nutrients, I would live indefinitely. And jellyfish can tell, Some jellyfish, Practically the same can be said of some of them.

I mean, What There are at least some living organisms in the animal kingdom for which aging does not exist And if they die, it's from environmental causes. Regarding the longevity of some animals, there are surprising cases. The longest-lived animal that has been known is an Icelandic clam that when it was caught had 600 Years.

But it is now known that Greenland sharks, For example, They can live 400 Years. And maybe something else. Bowhead whales also live more than 100 Years. Locusts live 80 Years, an amount of time far longer than any other organism linked or evolutionarily related to them. Turtles, The Chinese Tent, Etc. I mean, that we have examples of animals that are very long-lived and several times centenarian. And then there are also well-known cases in biology and in the medicine of cells that are immortal.

HeLa cells

The Case for Cells Hela, which are cancer cells, They are so called because they were taken from a tumor of an American lady, Henrietta Lacks, who died of this cancer in the years 50, And, However, ESa Sample Taken From Your Tumor Lives On in laboratories around the world.

Right now there are tons of HeLa cells scattered around labs around the world, And as long as these cells are provided with nutrients, they continue to divide and multiply and continue to live. So, As you can see, Ageing is very relative from a biological point of view.

This has led some researchers to, as in the case of the gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, To promise that Science will eventually be able to apply technologies to stop aging in human beings

The first person who will live a thousand years has already been born

Aubrey de Grey became famous for claiming that the first person to live a thousand years has already been born.

So the younger ones are at least promised a life of a thousand years. For others, it's a little late. So, There is a promise made by a scientist.

It is true that the scientific community is very skeptical of Aubrey de Grey's pronouncements, because it always goes beyond what the rest of gerontologists allow themselves to say. But Grey's idea is that life expectancy, in developed countries, at least, It's getting bigger and bigger. Right now in Spain it is in 84 women's years and we are the second longest-lived country after Japan and in the 2040 We will be the first country with the longest longevity in the world, we will overtake Japan.

Life expectancy has been increasing on the order of three years every decade, since the beginning of the century. It is not guaranteed that this will always remain the same, But if it went on like this, It is to be hoped that the next generations will live longer than 100 years.

So what Aubrey de Grey is saying is that a young person now, who lives more than 100 Years, You will be able to live in a time when medicine will have advanced so much that you will be able to stop aging.

Stop Aging

A young person will be able to make, at a certain stage, your aging stops completely, And that will allow him to live for a few more decades. But then you will be able to live in a time when medicine will have advanced so much, that will be able to rejuvenate every cell in your body, I mean, What You will be able to revert your whole body to its youthful state. Which means a Practically de facto immortality.

If we can maintain a permanently youthful body, The only cause of death would be an accident. De Grey, In fact, It has indicated a year from which we would begin to experience something like this, the year 2029, It is what he calls the year in which the Longevity Escape Velocity. I mean, the year in which Life expectancy will increase by more than a year for every year we live. So, If every year that I live my life expectancy increases by a little more than a year, That means I'm going to stay in the same state I'm in, at least, indefinitely.

Those of us who are caught very old, The 2029, We will have to be patient for the rejuvenation phase to arrive, Because if you don't, We're not going to look very good.

Why do we age??

It's also not very clear from an evolutionary point of view why aging occurs and why we die. In fact, If we were to apply the strict idea of natural selection, Ideally, organisms should live as long as possible, Because the longer an organism lives, More descendants leaves, And that's what natural selection is interested in.

The explanation that is now widely accepted among scientists is that the Aging and death is not a direct product of natural selection, but rather a byproduct of natural selection. It is the result of natural selection only seeing, so to speak, organisms that have a high percentage of reproductive effectiveness, It's called biological efficacy.

But that biological efficacy decreases over time because organisms are also killed by predators, due to accidents, I mean, that in every species, from a certain point in time, The number of offspring left behind is much smaller than in the early stages of the organism's life. And from that moment on, Natural selection no longer sees what's going on there, Ignores, so to speak.

This can cause natural selection to favor genes that during the juvenile phase provide greater vigor and greater reproductive capacity, but which have pernicious effects at later ages. That is why it is considered that aging is actually the deterioration of the organism due to the pleiotropic action of genes that were actually selected to provide vigor during the initial phases of an organism's life.

Not everyone agrees on this. Some people think that we could apply the idea of natural selection directly to aging and death, For example, We could talk about group selection, But that's more discussed.

The Biological Mechanism: The 9 Reasons

In any case, whether aging is a byproduct of natural selection, or is a direct result of natural selection, What is clear is that it is a process governed by biological mechanisms. And these can be studied scientifically, And they can be, Therefore,, analysed in all its phases, so that we can mitigate, in principle, their effects and later even eliminate them.

In that sense, there is a Classic Article, Two of its authors are Spanish, that I mentioned before, Carlos López-Otín and María Blasco, that was published in the year 2013 in the magazine Cell, and that has become a classic that everyone. The article cites nine root causes of aging:

  • Genomic instability
  • Telomere shortening
  • Epigenetic alterations
  • Loss of proteostasis
  • Dysregulation of nutrient sensitivity
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Cellular senescence
  • Stem cell depletion
  • Impaired intercellular communication

This article seems to have pointed out very clearly what the main mechanisms of ageing would be. And work is already underway on them, about some of them, In particular, there are great advances, For example, María Blasco is working on telomere shortening and, as we will see later, she has already achieved very impressive results.

There is another article published at CERN in 2008, signed by María Blasco, among other doctors, where they showed that by activating telomerase they could delay age in mice, I mean, E∙ Stop Aging in mice.

Big Tech Investment

That behind all this there is a solid foundation, This is shown by the fact that there are powerful companies investing an enormous amount of money. For example, Google created in the 2013 A company called Calico, He initially created it with a capital of one million dollars, But now it's a company that's worth a lot more, Dedicated exclusively to the study of ageing and, obviously, to the lengthening of life.

The big tycoons of Silicon Valley are very interested in dedicating their money to extending life, among other things Because they look older And what better way to spend money than to live longer. Well, Calico Labs is a company that in the 2015 It received support from two of the most prestigious universities in the world, MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

It has yet to produce spectacular results, But I think they are already saving some important results to announce something that will revolutionize all this medicine of aging in a very short time.

Well, It's not just a personal pretension on the part of the managers of these companies to live longer, It's just It's also big business for them, Because it's no secret from anyone that in the next few years, Regenerative medicine, In general, genomic medicine, But Regenerative medicine in particular, It's going to be a very relevant business. There is already a business in the management and control of biomedical data and that these companies are interested in controlling and in the future it is going to be an even more considerable business.

Genetic Scissors

There are some scientific breakthroughs that have come in support of these promises. For example, in the 2013, with the initial participation of a Spanish scientist, of the Francis Mojica, of the University of Alicante, The Genetic Scissors of greater precision than scientists have ever created.

This is the technique known as CRISPR-Cas9. It uses the immune system of bacteria to edit genes in any organism, to cut and paste genes in the place scientists want. Had, previously, Other Gene Editing Techniques, but CRISPR-Cas9 is much more accurate, much simpler and much cheaper than any of the other techniques above. And this is what is beginning to revolutionize the entire field of genomics.

Synthetic Biology

There is another important scientific breakthrough, who has also come in support of all this, of these promises. I'm talking about synthetic biology. Synthetic biology emerged at the turn of the century, 21st century. It is a branch of biology, A biotechnology branch that, ultimately, What it aims to do is Creating Artificial Life, Creating Life in the Lab.

Craig Venter, one of the great scientists and entrepreneurs dedicated to biotechnology, The intellectual father of the Dolly the Sheep, stated in the 2010 that had finally created artificial life. His claim was exaggerated because he didn't actually create life from Novo, But what he did was already quite spectacular, He managed to completely synthesize the genome of a bacterium existing in nature, He managed to synthesize it artificially, That genome, and then insert it into a different bacterium, in the cellular chassis of that bacterium, so he created a new bacterium to which he gave the name of Mycoplasma Laboratorium, although they gave it the nickname of Sintia.

Bio-bricks

Meanwhile, Synthetic biology is dedicated to more prosaic things, but that they are greatly advancing biotechnology. For example, One of the most important achievements of synthetic biology is the creation of what they call Biobricks, We could say Biobricks

In reality, they are pieces of DNA that have been artificially synthesized and that can be inserted as standardized pieces in bacteria or, in theory, in other organisms so that they fulfill a function that they do not have in nature. So they would be genetic pieces that scientists can place at will in organisms, initially bacteria to produce certain products that are of interest to humans, For example, Biofuels, but also medicines, such as Artemisinin, which is a medicine that is used for the treatment of malaria.

Regenesis: Genetic engineering is too small

All of this is dwarfing the promises of what is already known as classical genetic engineering. What Some Scientists Are Promising, thanks to these recent advances, These are even more ambitious things.

For example, George Church, Professor of Genetics, Harvard University. Not only is he one of the most prestigious scientists in the world, The World's Most Prestigious Geneticists, He is also one of the leaders of the Transhumanism

George Church wrote a book a few years ago, Regenesis, in which he makes very spectacular statements, but some of which have already been fulfilled. For example, In that book he predicted that entirely new genes could be created that do not exist in nature, fully synthesized in a laboratory, as a means of immunizing human beings against certain diseases in the future, For example, of viral attacks.

The truth is that in the 2017 It was possible to create two new nucleotides that do not exist in any living being. They know that nucleotides, the nitrogenous bases that our DNA uses are adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine. And that's for all living things, From Bacteria to Us. All living things work on those four nucleotides. Scientists were able to create in 2017 two new nucleotides that they called X of Y, to give it a name. But that's not all, they managed to insert it into the DNA of a bacterium, and have this bacterium synthesize an entirely new protein. So this possibility of creating artificial genes already exists.

The Genetic Supermarket

and George Church, In this book, He has not the slightest doubt that the ultimate goal of all these discoveries is application to human beings.

For the time being, Bacteria are being modified to produce biofuel, to produce medicines, and so on, and so on. But the ultimate goal is the application to the human being. In fact, In his book he says the following. "These synthetic biology technologies have the power to improve the health of humans and animals, increase the length of our life, Increase our intelligence and improve our memory, among other things."

I mean, George Church is claiming that sooner or later he will open up what he has already done in the 1990s. 70 the American philosopher Robert Nozick called The Genetic Supermarket. The time will come when parents will be able to decide which genes they want their children to carry. We're still a long way from that, but not as much as a recent piece of news that we will now talk about has highlighted.

Obviously, to the extent that these gene-editing technologies are applied to humans in the future, At first, they will be applied to cures of diseases, Monogenic diseases, that could be more easily solved, But over time, The temptation to apply them to the bio-improvement of the human being will be a very strong temptation.

I mean, It will be applied not only to correct diseases, but also to enhance phenotypic qualities and particularly, as George Church points out, intelligence.

The Genes of Intelligence

It's not as easy as it sounds, Because the latest studies that are being done with massive genome analyses show that There are more than a thousand genes, probably well over a thousand genes, that have an impact small, but some, About Intelligence. I mean, That there is no such thing as an intelligence gene, A lot of things would have to be changed, but anyway, At least some other qualities might be easier to improve.

In the 2016, Professor George Church organized a meeting at Harvard University that the press learned about only two days later (This is always suspicious when they don't warn initially). 

There was more than 140 scientists, Lawyers, Philosophers, Specialists of various types, In principle, to discuss whether or not to start a project, The Human Genome Artificial Synthesis Project, I mean, Creating the entire human genome in the lab.

Some suspect that mere expediency was not discussed, but the project was launched and is directed by George Church. By the way, He is so confident in the effectiveness of all these technologies that last year he created a company to extend the lives of pets, So now, If you have a dog or cat that you want to see, living longer can lead you to the company created by George Charles. Probably, will charge you quite a bit, But in principle, he promises to extend the life of these pets.

Editing a Human Embryo

In the 2017 Edited, for the first time known, A viable human embryo, Viable. Non-viable human embryos had already been edited a few months earlier in China.

But the first human embryo that could have been implanted in a uterus, although it was not done because the law prohibits it, It was published in the 2017 By Shoukrat Mitalipov. He got into those embryos, Repair a mutant allele that causes a fairly common heart disease. Got, According to their study, That allele was replaced by normal alleles in all the cells of that embryo, but the embryo did not allow itself to develop more than 14 days, which is what the law allows.

Immediately, The press went crazy over the whole thing, Not as it happened with this news and the next day there were already articles that are normally polarized at the two extremes: columnists who immediately welcomed the post-human that we were going to create overnight with this type of technology.

And other columnists who called for a total ban on any application of these techniques to human beings because this opened Pandora's box.

In my opinion on these matters, A more sensible position should be sought. It does not seem very coherent to rejoice that a new species will soon come to replace us, product of the genetic manipulations that we make in human beings. And neither, On the other hand, It seems very sensible to ban this technology at its root, when it is a technology that has enormous potential to, For example, to cure very painful and very terrible diseases for human beings.

Long telomeres

María Blasco also got, in the same year, in the 2016, lengthen telomeres, the final part of the chromosomes. And telomeres shorten as the cells in our body divide. So, As time goes on, Our cells have shorter and shorter telomeres. And that's one of the reasons, As we've said before, By which we grow old.

If it were possible to regenerate these telomeres We could keep our cells in a youthful state much longer. And that María Blasco achieved it with mice. He got mice with longer telomeres and, Therefore,, Longer lived than normal mice.

Also that same year, Juan Carlos Izpisúa published an article in the journal Cell, Also very shocking, and that it was also widely disseminated by the media, because he managed to rejuvenate mice, but this time without touching the chromosomes, The genes of these mice, I mean, No Gene Editing, but through epigenetic modifications. I mean, by modifying the expression of four genes known as Yamanaka Factors. Modifying the way these genes are expressed, without touching the genes themselves, He managed to extend the life of mice in a 30%. In principle, this could be achieved through medication.

If we could extend the lives of mice through drugs, Obviously, there is the possibility of extending the lives of human beings by means of medicines.

Yuval Noah Harari

There are more and more prestigious scientists who argue that this extension of life is achievable from a scientific-technical point of view. All this has also generated a large amount of popular literature linked to this issue.

Perhaps the best-known book that gave rise to popular discussion on these issues was the book of Yuval Noah Harari Entitled Sapiens, although here the first edition was titled "From Animals to Gods", which was actually the subtitle. I'm not going to read Harari's quote because it's a widely known book and it's also highly recommended to read because it's very well written.

It's another thing to believe everything Harari says, especially in the last two chapters where he talks about these issues. The success was such, that in the 2016 Harari published a book dedicated specifically to this issue, Homo Deus. The title says it all. I mean, A man is a god and, Therefore,, It's immortal.

Speculative ethics?

Sometimes to philosophers, when we talk about these issues, We are accused of engaging in speculative ethics, 'Cause there's no guarantee, We are told, that all of this is going to come to pass. And we're scaring people by talking about this.

It must be said that it is not philosophers who dedicate ourselves to talking about these questions because we like them. It is the scientists themselves who address this question and call for a public discussion on these issues. As an example of this attitude, I put here the BBC website on the 2015, The scientific editor of this page, James Gallagher, I was pulling out an article titled The Baby Designer Debate Must Begin, Scientists say. In other words,, It is true that many of these things have not happened, But the possibility of getting designer babies is already starting to be a real possibility.

And the debate, Therefore,, It must begin and scientists are calling for it. In Japan, in October last year, Permission was also given to genetically edit human embryos.

The Girls of He Jiankui

And the most spectacular case, Because no one thought anyone would dare to do it in such a short time, It was that of the Chinese scientist He Jiankui, Sadly famous for having done what no scientist dared to do before.

I mean, Not just editing genes in a human embryo, But implanting those embryos in a uterus and allowing two girls to be born, Two Sisters, who theoretically appear to be genetically immunized against the AIDS virus. That's not entirely true, apparently, 'Cause one of the two girls, at least, All of their cells have not been edited with the gene variant that would allow that immunity, So it's a mosaic from a genetic point of view, and is not fully immunized. These girls are going to have to undergo medical treatment or surveillance all their lives. I don't know if he explained it so clearly to his parents.

The entire scientific community, with very few exceptions, He has harshly criticized what this scientist has done. In fact, The Chinese authorities themselves have expelled him from the university and right now he is at home. And the future that awaits him in China is probably not going to be very, very buoyant. The only ones who were more lukewarm in their condemnation were George Church, the Harvard professor of genetics and the director of Harvard Medical School.

Curiously, at Harvard there are scientists who believe that sooner or later this was going to happen, That this scientist has rushed, But this type of research always has its risks and he has dared to take it. I mean, that the conviction of these scientists was not a radical condemnation, rather, they made it clear that this was going to happen.

Behind these promises, a philosophical movement is building, Cultural, I would say ideological, also even religious, which is known as Transhumanism

What does transhumanism look for??

The Transhumanism aims to transform our species through technology. Whether it's through the integration of the human being into the machine, the creation of the cyborg or by genetic engineering in human embryos or in eggs and sperm, in such a way that modifications are generated that are later inheritable by our descendants.

For the most radical, The ultimate goal is to create a new species, A Post-human species. Some already call him Homo excelsior. It is nothing more nor less than the vindication of the fact that the human being, thanks to its technology, He has the possibility of escaping Darwinian evolution and taking it into his own hands Their Evolutionary Destiny

I mean, We no longer have to be subjected to the vicissitudes of natural selection, rather, our technology allows us to decide what we want to be, What kind of biological entity we want to be in the future. And maybe, in the more distant future, abandoning even our own biological condition.

Some of the best-known representatives of the Transhumanism: Max More, it wasn't initially called More (More in English as you know means more, his name was O'Connor, But it changed its name precisely to vindicate its status as a Transhumanist). David Pierce, The Canadian Sociologist James Hughes, and one of the most well-known Transhumanists, Google's Engineer, Raymond Kurzweil, the father of the idea of singularity.

The Uniqueness

The idea of singularity is a very simple idea, although anyway, Pretty puzzling. According to Kurzweil, Artificial intelligence will continue to develop dramatically in the coming decades, And there will come a time that he places in the year 2045, in which machines will be able to improve themselves in intelligence. And at that moment, At the time when Machines Can Make Smarter Machines, There will be a Explosion of Artificial Intelligence in a matter of hours, overnight, So then we'll have super smart machines, What They will take control of the planet because his intelligence will be far above that of any human being. That moment is what he calls the singularity.

That is a thesis that generates a lot of debate, Because there are many doubts that something like this is going to happen, No? And then I'd worry about other things like, For example, job losses due to the development of artificial intelligence.

It is obviously not a reason to paralyze the investigation, But let's just say that it is a reason to worry more realistically than about this supposed singularity. And next to Raymond Kurzweil is Natasha Vita More, who is Max Moore's wife, and is the president of the largest association Transhumanist Worldwide Call Humanity +.

Silicon Valley's bet

Most of these authors, Well, some of these authors come from the Silicon Valley milieu, The University of California, but another of the centers of diffusion of thought Transhumanist is the University of Oxford. Specifically, at the University of Oxford there are two institutes dedicated to the development and promotion of thought Transhumanist

One is the Oxford Uehiro Center for Practical Ethics, directed by Julian Szabulescu, and the other occupying the floor below, in the same building, It's him Institute for the Future of Humanity, directed by Nick Bostrom and that has as one of its most important researchers also Anders Sandberg.

Nick Bostrom has a book, Now translated into Spanish, What is it Superintelligence, Where he speaks, where he develops Kurzweil's thesis and wonders if we have superintelligent machines and what danger this has for the development of human beings.

Consequences of transhumanism from philosophy

To finish, I would just like to raise some philosophical questions about the consequences of a moderate lengthening of human life. Let alone a radical elongation or an indefinite elongation. Moderate elongation, say, That we can live, as María Blasco says in a recent book with another author, That we can live 140 Years. The title of the book is Dying young at the age of 140 Years.

The meaning of a life... So long

Let's say we can live 140, 150, 160, 200 Years at the Peak. Some questions are raised, let alone whether the argument for life were much greater, in the more distant future. For example, ¿We could give meaning to a life of indefinite duration? ¿We could give meaning to a life of 300, 400 Years?

We would have to reinvent ourselves from time to time. Who would put up with the same profession 100 Years?, Or the same couple 100 Years?. We would have to change our hobbies and if that is the case, we could maintain the same state of happiness throughout that life.

It's all done for the first time, only once. One can read Don Quixote The First Time, only once. One can swim in the sea or see the sea for the first time, only once, Etc. A life of indefinite duration, or very elongated, There would come a time when it would be a reiteration of experiences. It would be very difficult to find new experiences. That's why, Borges wrote in a rather pessimistic tone.

Everything among mortals has the value of the irretrievable and the random. Among the Immortals, instead, Every act and every thought is the echo of others that preceded it in the past, without a visible beginning or the faithful foreshadowing of others who in the future will repeat it to the point of vertigo. There is nothing that is not lost among indefatigable clearings.

Borges, In the story The Immortal, It paints a very unflattering prospect for the immortals.

Transhumanism and Personal Identity

Then there would be another problem, My Personal Identity. If we manage to extend the life by several hundred years Am I still me all that time? Yes, I've had to reinvent myself several times, What does that person who lives in my body after 200, 300 Years, but he doesn't even have my hobbies anymore, Nor do you have my friends, Nor does he have my profession, Nor does he have my tastes, Nor does it look much like me? Am I still me?.

And if you don't look anything like me, Why should I care about your fate, Your future, Its Existence? 

Someone would say, Well, Let's see, Personal identity is still maintained because there has been no rupture. We are very different from the child we were and sometimes it would be difficult for us to recognize ourselves in that child, But that doesn't mean we aren't somehow still that kid. Yes, But let's multiply that by ten or twenty.

There might be a time when we were no longer anything like that other person. Family relationships would also be disrupted. To people who manage to have great-grandchildren, They already struggle to have a very familial relationship with great-grandchildren, Imagine treating grandchildren or descendants even farther away, What relationship would we have with them?? What relationship would we have with our children after 200 Years? Would we still see them?? Would our children still consider it?? What consequences would all this have for future generations and for the environment?? 

Transhumanism, demography

It is obvious that if people stop dying, children must also stop being born, Because if you don't, it starts to fill up, And there aren't resources for everyone. The Transhumanists They give a bit of weird solutions to this, They have proposed to reduce our size to fit more people.

Or they've proposed Encouraging suicide. If someone wants to commit suicide, You have the last two years all paid. The state pays for everything, But then it has to be out of the way to make room for a child.

They don't seem like very realistic solutions. And obviously there would be additional social problems, employment, Etc.

The Brain

Another Problem. The Brain, Even if you keep all your cells young, It's still a brain that experiences things, And he already has a great deal of experience after a while.

I'll never be fresh brain again, imaginative, creative that he was in his youth.

There are branches of science or art, like math or poetry, where it is said that what you have not done to the 25 years you're not going to do it anymore, Because that is the most creative moment of the human brain. Could we become young bodies with old minds?, with very conservative minds, Very attached to the past, with little vision of renewal for the future.

Transhumanism and the Social Divide

And then, The Last Objection, the one that is repeated the most and that is also very worrying, is that of the Unequal access to these technologies. Obviously, These technologies are not cheap and are unlikely to be at some point, at least close. Only the richest will have access to them and this will create a caste not only sociologically and economically separated from the rest of humanity, but also biologically separated

That's why, says John Gray in What transhumanism has in store for us, to read Homer, The old Greek gods surrounded by mortals who yearn for the protection of those gods. That would be a pretty dystopian future and pretty nasty in my opinion.

Well, I'll leave it here. Thanks a lot.

Dr. Antonio Diéguez

My "humanist" assessment

I'm Guillem again, what do you think of it?? Good debate left by Dr. Dieguez. Personally, I think that profoundly altering the biology of the human being to the point of creating a new entity is something that needs to be debated. I do not deny the use of biotechnology to alleviate diseases, Eliminate Pain, But that's where the question comes from Who wants to live forever? Not me.

From a personal branding perspective, understood as the footprint we leave, that legacy, I pose the following challenge:

If you want to leave an eternal mark you don't need to live forever, Just do great things

The truth, Have a resume that says things like "400 Years of work experience"It doesn't seduce me. I think it's a good thing that an environmental check, An improvement in diet and other healthy habits will make us live longer. But I find it tragic that body and mind don't evolve in parallel, and that the body stays young while the mind watches the years go by.

As far as I'm concerned, the personal brand, What we need is not to prolong life eternally, Is Do things that improve the years we can live, leave a mark. And that brand transcends us. Design a good purpose, Put it into action through a personal mission, and create things that help us be better... without renouncing our human condition.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this debate. I'll leave you with "Who wants to live forever". Happy week.

Stock photo by chaoss on Shutterstock.com

Note: I didn't use ChatGPT to write this article, but it is a very efficient audio-to-text transcription tool that uses artificial intelligence that you can find in https://riverside.fm/transcription

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2 thoughts on "Transhumanism Who Wants to Live Forever?”

  1. Absolutely spectacular, Guillem this post! So much information and what an interesting debate. In case you haven't seen it, I recommend the HBO series “Years & Years” in which one of the characters transitions into transhumanism. It's not something that's too far away. Of course, if it is possible to extend the life, with quality… ¡Go ahead! It's my honest opinion. I think “healthy mens in beer” It would be a future that many of us would sign up for. There are always things to do… Another thing is that, with the current system (of pensions, For example), would be unfeasible.
    Magnificent summary, Really, and -once again… Congratulations on the content!

    Reply
    • Thank you Jesus for your assessment, I'm a big fan of Antonio Diéguez and his explanation of transhumanism. I haven't seen "Years" & Years", But I put it on my list of favorites.

      Totally agree with the "mens sana in corpore sano", I believe that biotechnology can help us live better in the years we have left, And of course, Places to ask, Let them be many. The warning of philosophers and humanists is that transhumanism can change us as a species until we are no longer human. A strong hug!

      Reply

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